The Expanse: Strange Dogs – TV Review

TL;DR – If this is the last we get of The Expanse, well, it was a solid opener to go out on.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this series.

The Expanse: Strange Dogs. image Credit: Amazon Studios.

The Expanse Review

Today we have a show that is filling me with joy and sadness. Joy, because The Expanse is one of my favourite adaptations and one of my favourite shows. Sadness, because this is the last season that we will get on all accounts. Well, today, we start our dive into the final season.  

So to set the scene, during Season 5, The Free Navy attacked Earth using asteroids covered in stealth composites. Since then, rock after rock has been flung at Earth, and while they are mostly shot down, debris still rains down on the planet, causing dirt to clog the atmosphere and the temperature to plummet. Meanwhile, on Laconia, Cara (Emma Ho) explores the new environment when she stumbles upon a strange dog that she has never seen before. All while orbiting above lies something … waiting in a web. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead. 

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Shadow In The Cloud – Movie Review

TL;DR – Conceptionally, this is an interesting film, but I am not sure it makes the leap from concept to the final film.     

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this movie.

Shadow In The Cloud. Image Credit: Roadshow Films.

Shadow In The Cloud Review

Well, today, we look at a film that is clearly swinging for the fences in what it wants to do. It’s a wild ride, like anything experimental, but like some experiments, it doesn’t quite work in places.  

So to set the scene, we open in World War 2 with a short cartoon reminding everyone that there is no such thing as gremlins, and only airmen can stop disasters in the sky. At an Allied Airbase in Auckland, a B-17 bomber called The Fool’s Errand is waiting to take transistors to Apia, Samoa. However, just before they take off, Flying Officer Maude Garrett (Chloë Grace Moretz) arrives with a broken arm, a mysterious package, and secrecy orders. The crew is quite miffed about the change of plans, but they relent, and the plane takes off, with Maude in the Sperry Ball turret on the bottom of the aircraft. Her goal is working until they see some Japanese planes and a creature crawling on the wing.  

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Jolt – Movie Review

TL;DR – I had so much fun with this film, but it is very much a film made for me, and that mood will not be for everyone.   

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this movie.

Jolt. Image Credit: Amazon Prime.

Jolt Review

There are some films out there that are created on a particular wavelength. These movies have facets that might engage one person but deeply frustrate others. On some level, all films do this, but some hit harder than others. Today we look at a movie that is very much my groove, but oh boy, could this rub others the wrong way.  

So to set the scene, when Lindy (Sofia Weldon) was a child, she tended to explode with violence on a moment’s trigger. Even when she was diagnosed with an intermittent explosive disorder, it did not lead to her getting the help she needed. Now an adult, Lindy (Kate Beckinsale) has it mostly under control, but this needs almost constant electro-shock therapy. Trying to find some normalcy, she tries to go on a date with Justin (Jai Courtney), but things go awry when the waitress (Savvy Clement) is just the worst and when Justin ends up in a dumpster with two bullets in his chest.  

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Without Remorse (Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse) – Movie Review

TL;DR – In many ways, it feels like almost a relic of a different time. But there was a lot of work put into this film, and the cast is clearly here for it.  

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this movie.

Without Remorse (Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse). Image Credit: Amazon Studios.

Without Remorse Review

I am not sure that any modern author’s works have been adapted as much as Tom Clancy. From movies to TV shows to video games, the late author’s name is everywhere as his works of political intrigue get adapted and then readapted. His works are deeply political, so it is always interesting to see how it has been reinterpreted for a different time. Today, I look at the latest film adaption of his work with Without Remorse.     

So to set the scene, we open in Aleppo, Syria, as John Kelly (Michael B. Jordan) and his team are sent sneak into a stronghold to rescue a CIA operative captured by government forces by CIA operative Robert Ritter (Jamie Bell). However, when they arrive, it is not Syrian Government forces holding the officer but Russian forces. As they try to exfil from the building, an RPG splits the team, but they manage to escape. Three months later, John is in Washington DC with his very pregnant wife Pam (Lauren London), preparing to leave the Navy. Still, unknown to him, his old team is getting assassinated one at a time across America.

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The Protégé (The Asset) – Movie Review

TL;DR – Well, look, it is not a great film, but it is not a bad one either. It is just that the narrative is not there to support the action.   

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this movie.

The Protégé (The Asset). Image Credit: Amazon Prime.

The Protégé Review –

Some actors out there give solid performances no matter what film they are in. One of those actors is Maggie Q, who I have always seen giving her best in whatever production she is in. Frankly, I am not sure why she is not in more things. Well, today I catch up with her latest action film with The Protégé.    

So to set the scene, in 1991, it was a stormy day in Da Nang, Vietnam. Moody Dutton (Samuel L. Jackson) walks into a hideout to find that all the people inside are dead, bar one little girl hiding Anna (Eva Nguyen Thorsen) in a closet that may have killed them all. Moody can’t leave her alone in the middle of all that death, so he takes her with him. 30-years later, in Bucharest, Romania, a now grown-up, Anna (Maggie Q) and Moody kidnap Vali (George Piștereanu), the kid of a local mobster Don Preda (Velizar Binev), for 3 Million Euros. But while Don Preda blusters, he does not know that Anna is not a kidnapper. Anna is an assassin.

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The Book of Boba Fett: Chapter 1 (Stranger in a Strange Land) – TV Review

TL;DR – While this was an interesting start to the series, it also felt like it lacked weight in places.  

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ subscription that viewed this show.

The Book of Boba Fett: Chapter 1 (Stranger in a Strange Land). Image Credit: Disney+.

The Book of Boba Fett Review

For many people, Boba Fett is a character from Star Wars that they adore. But part of that was because of his brevity on screen, giving you only snippets of who he is. The problem is that the industry is littered with the corpses of projects based on characters that people liked in glimpses, only to find out they had no legs to stand on when they tried to expand the character out. Well, today, we get to look at a show that charts a course forward into a realm both known and unknown.

So to set the scene, we begin with Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) lying in a medical healing tube, but as he heals, he is wracked with bad dreams. He dreams of finding his father dead during the events of Attack of the Clones and of waking up inside the Sarlacc after the Return of the Jedi. These nightmares haunt his sleep. But there is no time for that because Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) has arrived to tell him that the tributes have come because, at the end of The Mandalorian Season 2, Boba killed his predecessor and took up the position left by Jabba the Hutt. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead. 

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Hawkeye: Season 1 Full Review – TV Review

TL;DR – A charming series, with good action, but more importantly, solid character work and growth.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ subscription that viewed this show.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a Mid-Credit Scene in the final episode

Hawkeye: Season 1. Image Credit: Disney+.

Hawkeye Review

Of all the announced Marvel/Disney+ TV series, I would have to say that it landed with a big meh when I heard about Hawkeye. Hawkeye as a character has always been one of the weaker elements of the MCU for me, and I was not sure that a mini-series exploring that was going to do much to change that. Well, I will be the first to admit when I was wrong because more than any other Marvel property, I was instantly sold with that first trailer and what we got, in the end, was frankly some solid superhero fun.  

So to set the scene, it is 2012, and a young Kate Bishop (Clara Stack) is listening in on her parents because all is not right with money. But before she has time to process that, her world explodes as the Battle of New York is fought around her. It is here where she first sees Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and after the death of her father (Brian James d’Arcy), she convinces her mother (Vera Farmiga) that she needs to learn archery. Today, a now adult Kate (Hailee Steinfeld) is sneaking into Stane Tower for a bet … and accidentally destroys a bell tower in the process. Meanwhile, Clint is out in New York having dinner trying to reconnect with his kids, not realising his past as Ronin was about to explode into his present. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.  

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Encanto – Movie Review

TL;DR – This visually stunning film is held back by unneeded musical moments that feel more like filler than integral.     

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ subscription that viewed this movie.

Encanto. Image Credit: Disney.

Encanto Review

Animation is a medium that, when used to its best, can radically transform your experience of a story, but which is usually related to being a lower form of filmmaking. Today we look at a film that uses the strengths of animation but then also feels like the medium held it back from its true potential.   

 So to set the scene, 50-years before the start of the film, the Madrigal family and their community were on the run from enemies, and just when they were surrounded, and all was lost, magic happened. A magic candle created a sanctuary for the community and a sentient house and gave the family magical powers. This continued from Abuela Alma Madrigal (María Cecilia Botero) to her daughters and grandchildren. However, when it was Mirabel’s (Noemi Josefina Flores) turn, there was no magic power for her. Now grown up, Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz) works to prove herself for the family as her cousin Camilo (Rhenzy Feliz) prepares to find his magical power. However, while things go well, cracks start appearing in the house, and soon all the magic is trouble.       

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The Matrix Resurrections – Movie Review

TL;DR – This is a weird yet oddly compelling film that will capture you if it is your mood. If it is not your mood, well, it is going to be a bit of a slog    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a post-credit scene

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film

The Matrix Resurrections. Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures.

The Matrix Resurrections Review

Of all the films that I have a complicated relationship with, The Matrix series is high on that list. That first film was one of my first entries into the love of cinema, and it still ranks high on my personal Top 10 list. But the sequels also taught me that sometimes lightning doesn’t strike twice. Both are important lessons to learn. However, after all this time, I questioned whether I was ready to enter the Matrix again?

So to set the scene, some years after the end of The Matrix Revolutions, people are still diving into The Matrix. While Bugs (Jessica Henwick) is searching, she discovers a moodle running using old code. Inside, a woman sits talking on the phone, only to discover that the line has been traced and police are on their way. Outside, agents pull up and ask the sergeant why he sent his men in “we can take care of one little girl”, he replies, “no, your agents are already dead”, comes the response. As Bugs follows the program, everything is familiar but wrong. In a way, she can’t put her finger on it. All of this falls apart when one of the Agents notices her and shows a secret portal to a room, the room of one Thomas Anderson, better known as Neo (Keanu Reeves). Okay, so much like Spider-Man: No Way Home, this is a difficult film to talk about because you cannot really discuss it without getting into spoilers at a frighteningly quick pace. So with that in mind, we will give some general impressions and then dive into full spoilers.

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Spider-Man: No Way Home – Movie Review

TL;DR – In every way, this film stuck the landing, but I can’t help but feel that part of the ending didn’t sit well with me.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene and a post-credit scene that you do not have to stay for

Disclosure – I paid to watch this film

Spider-Man: No Way Home. Image Credit: Sony Pictures.

Spider-Man: No Way Home Review

It has been a while since I have seen a film with so much hype building before release like I think not even Avengers Endgame had this much pressure behind it. As I walked into this film, there was a fear that they would never be able to stick the landing because there was such wide expectations as to what this film was meant to be. However, now that I have seen and had some time to ruminate on it, I think they were able to stick the landing, which is almost remarkable.

So to set the scene, in the closing moments of Spider-Man: Far From Home, internet conspiracy nut J. Jonah Jameson (J. K. Simmons) revealed doctored footage alleging Spider-Man was a murderer, but also showing to the world that Spider-Man was actually Peter Parker (Tom Holland). The adverse reaction is immediate and vicious as public opinion shifts against Peter even though he did nothing wrong. The response is so bad that even his friends MJ (Zendaya) and Ned (Jacob Batalon) can’t get into college because they are caught in the blowback. Not wanting his mistake to hurt his friends, Peter makes a trip to 177A Bleecker Street to meet Dr Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Strange promises to cast a spell, so everyone forgets that Peter is Spider-Man, but things go badly wrong. Okay, so this is a difficult film to talk about because you can not really discuss it without getting into spoilers at a frighteningly quick pace. So with that in mind, we will give some general impressions and then dive into full spoilers.

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